THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

“Was it worth the wait?”

I was really surprised when I saw his comment on my photo. I wasn’t really thinking about anything when I placed that caption. Tired and still sweaty from my jog, I just took a picture, wrote down whatever was on my mind, and then posted on Facebook.

I remember him, alright. He was that random stranger on the bus, the guy who seemed to look as if he was lost yet collected, the guy who seems to know what he wanted but never knew how he would actually get it. I was sixteen I think, and he was in his early twenties at that time.

No he wasn’t really that good looking. Brown eyes that seems to have seen more than he wanted, strong jaw, smooth mocha skin, a strong thin mouth, just another ordinary guy, I guess. He had his earphone stuck on both ears that time, singing under his breath but loud enough for me to hear. He can sing, that’s for sure.

Spent all your time waiting
For that second chance
For that break that would make it okay
There’s always some reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day

I wasn’t familiar with the song and I wasn’t even sure if he was singing it correctly. All I knew was, he made my heart skip a little bit. I didn’t even realize I was staring until his eyes caught mine.

He just stared at me, maybe wondering why I was looking, but he never stopped singing. The loneliness in his eyes caught me by surprise for a while. Then he smiled. My heart skipped more than just a bit this time.

For some reason, I was crazy enough to smile back and throughout the long trip from Cabanatuan to Manila, we exchanged a few more glances, smiles, and some giggles here and there. I never got the courage to talk to him directly since my sister was beside me. She would really kill me if I made the first move.

Lucky enough, he was the one who did. The bus was already at NLEX when I felt his eyes on me again. He was just a seat away, on the other side of the bus aisle. I turned to look at him.

“Can I get your number?” He mouthed. I turned to look at my sister.

I smiled when I saw that she was sleeping. I sighed and took my phone out of my pocket and typed in a simple message. It wasn’t something that I normally do, but I guess, I was a little smitten or maybe just stupid.

“Why?” I typed, before handing him my phone. It didn’t even occur to me that he might be a bad guy or a robber or something.

Instead of an answer, he typed-in his number and gave my phone back with a smile.

Just then, the bus stopped, and he was on his way out. He gave me another nod and another smile before mouthing another message.

“Your call,” He said before getting off. My sister just raised an eyebrow. Of all the time to be awake, she chose to wake up at that very moment. She didn’t ask any question though, which was a good thing.

I didn’t see him again after that. We did exchange messages, flirted for a while, and even planned on meeting each other in Manila. We almost did, but he was busy with work. We chatted on Facebook as well, him correcting my grammar most of the time and me getting pissed for being made to look like a moron.

Still, I started writing his name down on my notes, downloading his pictures, waiting for the time he would be online so that we could talk. I wanted to hear his voice again, to hear him sing, but I knew that if I did, I’d just fall in love with him all over again.

I wasn’t even sure that it was possible. But it happened. I fell for a total stranger. I fell for a voice. I fell for a man who was a few miles away from me yet seem further away. Maybe I was young. Maybe I was just being stupid, or maybe, I really did just fall for him. I’m not sure and I have no way of knowing that now. We didn’t have the chance to see it through.

Then we stopped messaging each other. He changed phone numbers for some reason and I never got the courage to message him again on Facebook as well.

Time and time again, I’d see his posts on Facebook and time and time again, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would have worked between the two of us. I just laughed it off though. I don’t even know him, I mean, not really. And he didn’t know me.

A few years after, my parents’ petition for me to Canada was approved. And despite the fact that we never really had any more communication aside from the few likes and comments on each other’s posts, I wish I could have said goodbye.

I’ve posted about it, me leaving, and I’ve waited for him to say something. He didn’t, so as the years went by, I stopped waiting as well or expecting anything from him. We never did get beyond being strangers anyway.

Then he commented on that picture asking me if it was worth the wait, as if he knew that for a while, I waited for him to make the first move, for him to try to see if there was something there between us, if we could have made it work.

I sent him a private message, asking him how he was. He replied after a few hours, just some simple words saying that he was okay and asking how I was. I’ve read his message but never responded to it again.

I am too far away now, and I didn’t want to wait again. I didn’t want to think of the maybe’s and what if’s. I didn’t want to fall in love to a voice all over again. Not this time.

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